What they said: Jonathan Byrd

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June 04, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: the Memorial Tournament transcript archive

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Jonathan Byrd, thanks for joining us here. Well, 69 today for your score, and a birdie on the last hole puts you in the last group tomorrow with Steve Stricker. If we can get some opening comments. Good week so far for you, and I'm sure you're excited about tomorrow.

JONATHAN BYRD: Absolutely. This has been a special week so far, and I had a really good tournament here two years ago. My dad was getting into his last weeks of his life, and I was able to get in contention and have a chance to win coming down the stretch. So I always have good memories with this tournament, but this week I've got my brother on the bag, and he's done a great job this week, and he's gotten more and more relaxed every day, and we've played some really good golf.

And you know, my scorecard was a little I had a bunch of bogeys the first day, and each day it's kind of one bogey today and no bogeys yesterday. I'm doing everything pretty well.

Q. As far as your brother goes, in three rounds what's been the one best thing he's done and maybe the one thing he didn't do well??

JONATHAN BYRD: Best thing he's done is just keep up, you know? Caddying is hard, especially on the weekend when you get in twosomes. He's really gotten a knack for getting the yardages. I say "keep up," I mean getting the yardages, getting on par 3s and being ready and having a number. And I'm a guy who likes to have my caddie come back to the tee boxes on every hole, and there's some tough walks back to tee boxes here and he's done that and hasn't complained. So just being ready and getting the ball and having a number, he's done a great job.

He will say we had trouble getting a number on 16 the first day and I hit it in the water, but I hit a bad shot there and it wasn't his fault. But I think he's kind of taking the blame on that one.

Q. Did he ever forget to bring the bag over so you could hit??

JONATHAN BYRD: No, I mean, I've caught him talking to fans a couple times. There's some Clemson fans out there and he's talking to them, and I'm like, Jordan, come on, we need to go. What's the wind here? But I'm not going to fault him for that. He's having a good time, and I want him to continue to do that.

Q. You were, I think, five back or six back with a couple holes to go. The game changes so fast. Steve makes a couple of bogeys and you make a birdie, so I guess you're really never out of it unless you're nine shots behind with three holes to go or something like that.

JONATHAN BYRD: Absolutely. This golf course is tough. You know, I've had enough experience on this golf course to know when you're playing aggressive and you're looking for birdies out there, you can get them. But when you start playing careful and trying not to make mistakes you can make some major mistakes because you can short side yourself out here and get in trouble. It's easy to make bogeys out here.

I kept telling myself, I've just got to play the best golf I can, and if he runs away with it, I can't control that. But I was walking off I had a great up and down on 16 to save par out of the right bunker, and then I was walking to 17 tee saying, we could make two birdies finish here and get a little edge, knock a few of these shots off and be right where we need to be. I missed about a ten footer on 17 and hit it stiff on 18.

Q. Do you sort of heave a sigh of relief after you get through 16? There's been so much talk about the new hole and you hit it in the water the first day. Is it that tough?

JONATHAN BYRD: Yes. I mean, any time you've got a hole like that, it's just even today, you know, when the in the practice rounds the wind was down off the right. It makes that hole so much easier because you can set it out to the right and let the wind bring it in. The next day it was in off the left, which we had my brother and I had trouble getting the yardage just because the wind was different. And then today it was just kind of straight down a little off the left almost. It kind of changed right when I hit.

It's just a new green, so it's firm, and it's hard to keep it on the green. You know, Rod and I both hit pretty decent shots and it hit the edge of the bunker off the edge of the green and kicked right, and he got a terrible break, mine caught the other lip of the bunker and had a makeable possible up and down and he was dead.

All these par 3s out here, if you can get away with a par and keep moving on, I'm pretty happy.

Q. For a long time we've seen the face of American golf as Tiger and Phil. Now we're seeing a lot of other guys, especially this week, we see you, Steve, Kuchar up there. Is the face of American golf kind of changing a little bit??

JONATHAN BYRD: I tell people I think Tiger has kind of given us a window. I think some of Tiger's situation, his injuries, he would say not playing his best, he's giving us some time to get some tournament experience and win some tournaments, and it's just exciting to see so many guys having a chance to win each week and so many different guys winning.

There's a lot of talented guys out here right now. Guys playing with a lot of confidence, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson. You know, those guys are playing with a ton of confidence, and they're young. I think that's kind of spurred me on some, watching those guys. It's just nice to see.

I do think American golf right now has a lot of faces, and for a while it was just one face.

Q. There's a lot of red, white and blue on the leaderboard so far this week. Is there anything specific about this course that would bring out the best in the American players??

JONATHAN BYRD: I can't say so.

Q. Have you been paired much with Strick, and if so, is it a good pairing for you??

JONATHAN BYRD: Absolutely. I played with Strick on the final round in Maui, first tournament of the year, so that was fun playing with him. He didn't have his best that day, but I remember coming down the 17th hole and I had a long two putt, and he walked by me and kind of gave me a pat on the back, and said, Get this up and down, and he knew he was kind of out of the tournament and he was taking the time to kind of encourage me. I like playing with guys like that who do that. It's hard not to like Strick and pull for him.

Q. Going back sort of to 16, I know 17 was downwind today, not playing that tough, but given the right wind or maybe the wrong wind, how much tougher does 16 now make that finish, 16, 17 and 18??

JONATHAN BYRD: Well, I think it makes it a little more difficult because it brings into play hitting it in the water, you know, where you've got to go to the drop zone. I feel like it brings double into play. When the old par 3 the old par 3 was tough. People still made a lot of bogeys on that hole. But you didn't see many doubles.

So I think that could change the game a little bit, change the tournament down the stretch. But also, if you've got a lead, it's not too hard a hole, you can kind of lay it out to the right

Q. Is that three hole stretch one of the stronger finishing stretches on TOUR??

JONATHAN BYRD: I think so. I think it's a starting with 14, that's a pretty shoot, the whole back nine. It's a pretty exciting back nine with 11 where you see guys hit it in the hazard off the tee like I did or see guys drive it way down there and knock it on in two. A lot can happen on that back nine.

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